Royals' Gavin Cross Believes He Can Provide Strong Offensive Blend
Talk to Royals 2022 first-round pick Gavin Cross for just a few minutes and It’s obvious that the lefthanded-hitting outfielder has been a student of hitting for much of his life.
That's not surprising considering that his father is a baseball lifer who coached many of Cross’ youth teams.
“I’ve always believed that the best hitting coach is yourself,” Cross said. “You’re the one who's in the box, and you’re the one who's feeling what you’re feeling . . . Growing up with a baseball dad and a baseball family, it definitely helped me.”
The Royals prioritized Cross in the draft after his three-year career at Virginia Tech and drafted him with the ninth overall pick. After three games in the Arizona Complex League, Cross reported to Low-A Columbia, where he hit .293/.424/.596 in 26 games.
While some evaluators project Cross to be power-over-hit, Cross himself believes he’s going to strike the right balance as his career progresses.
“I’ve always grown up to be a hit-first guy who takes good at-bats” Cross said. “I’m training my swing to be a good hitter—be level, and I’m not trying to lift . . . There’s a fine line of just hitting for power and hitting for average, but I think I can do both.”
“We feel he’s a hybrid,” Royals minor league hitting coordinator Drew Saylor said. “He’s going to have some good hittability and he’s going to (do) a lot of damage. That’s within his profile.”
In early February, Cross had recently finished a preseason hitting camp at the Royals' complex in Arizona. One of the biggest benefits was being around players with a wide range of ages and experience levels.
The advancements Cross made in a short time point to the potential for continued improvement.
“Gavin is just a little bit more physical with the body,” Saylor said. “We’re seeing more efficiency in terms of how his swing is playing, and it really just goes to all the work that he’s put in this offseason.”
— Catcher Freddy Fermin, who was added to the 40-man roster in November, was named both MVP and rookie of the year in the Venezuelan League this winter. The 27-year-old hit .404/.482/.566 in 45 games with Caracas.